Fiat set to build Maserati, Alfa Romeo SUVs in Turin
Maserati's first SUV was previewed at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show as the Kubang concept, pictured.
TURIN -- Fiat will build Maserati's new Levante SUV at its flagship Mirafiori plant in Turin, union sources told Automotive News Europe. The automaker may also build an SUV for Alfa Romeo in the same factory, the sources said.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said on Sunday that Fiat will build Maserati and Alfa Romeo models at Mirafiori, safeguarding the underutilized factory's future, but he did not say which vehicles would be built there.
Fiat is expected to make a public announcement on what it will build at Mirafiori by this summer, ANE sources said.
The Levante is set to debut in 2014 as Maserati's first SUV. The Porsche Cayenne rival will share underpinnings with the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Alfa's first SUV is slated to hit showrooms in 2015. Its launch is part of Marchionne's latest effort to transform Alfa into a global luxury brand to challenge Audi.
Fiat plans to use its idled Italian factories to produce Jeeps, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos for export, as it relies increasingly on overseas sales to offset flagging demand in recession-hit Italy.
"I've made a commitment. We are not closing Mirafiori," Marchionne said on Sunday in a public interview at the Carignano theater in Turin. "We will make luxury cars for both Maserati and for Alfa Romeo."
Mirafiori recently has only been running for a few days per month. Fiat in December said it is investing about 1.2 billion euros to relaunch Maserati. Previous attempts to expand the Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands have fallen flat, but Marchionne said on Sunday that Chrysler's 2,300-strong U.S. dealer network will make the difference.
Marchionne brushed off the idea that Fiat was not capable of competing in the luxury segment, given its track record at Ferrari. He said the Enzo replacement will be unveiled at the Geneva auto show next month. "It is already completely sold out. It's made by Italian workers, by Italian engineers, and by Italian designers. And you ask me what I need to learn from the Germans?"
In terms of smaller cars, Fiat plans to extend its Panda range with a crossover-styled version, Marchionne said. "There will probably be a Panda X," he said.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report
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